N.W.H.L. Prioritizes Independent Team Ownership in New Model

Tyler Tumminia has been named the period in-between commissioner of the Nationwide Ladies’s Hockey League, changing the league’s founder, Dani Rylan Kearney.

The N.W.H.L. showed the trade on Monday and introduced that it used to be switching its operational style to an unincorporated affiliation with a six-person board of governors to verify “alignment of pursuits between the league and its groups.”

Below the former machine, the six-team league used to be owned by way of a gaggle of traders that still managed 4 of the league’s golf equipment, within the New York metropolitan space, Connecticut, Minnesota and Buffalo. Despite the fact that the league sought impartial homeowners for all six franchises, simplest two groups are independently owned — the Boston Delight and the Toronto Six, a variety membership for the 2020-21 season.

Since its inception in 2015, the N.W.H.L. operated extra like a unmarried entity — like Main League Football — with wage limits and traders or shareholders controlling primary choices for the groups. This differs from the fashions utilized by the N.H.L. and the N.F.L., which the N.W.H.L. will now try to mimic.

Andy Scurto, an insurance and tech entrepreneur who is on the new board of governors, thanked Rylan Kearney in a statement for bringing the league “where it is today.”

“Tyler brings a wealth of relevant experience and we are confident that she will help take the league to the next level,” he added, referring to Tumminia, the interim commissioner.

For five years, Rylan Kearney had been the lone visible face of N.W.H.L. leadership and took the brunt of criticism for missteps.

When many around the hockey world called for merging competing women’s hockey leagues, she remained confident that the N.W.H.L. was pushing toward creating the best environment available for female hockey players.

After playing ice hockey at Northeastern, Rylan Kearney moved to New York and opened a coffee shop in East Harlem. At the time, women’s professional hockey was almost nonexistent in the United States, with one team in Boston playing in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.

Rylan Kearney saw an opening to bring women’s pro hockey to the U.S., starting with four teams in the N.W.H.L. The league signed Olympians and stars from the C.W.H.L., like Hilary Knight and Meghan Duggan.

But during the N.W.H.L.’s second season, the league incurred financial troubles, including lawsuits, and slashed player salaries, creating distrust from several top players. In a 2017 interview with The New York Times, Rylan Kearney acknowledged that it was more difficult than she envisioned to get major companies on board supporting women’s sports.

After many players left the N.W.H.L., Rylan Kearney secured partnerships with companies like Twitch that somewhat stabilized the league’s standing. The N.W.H.L. added franchises in Minnesota in 2018, and Toronto in April.

The N.W.H.L., which will begin its sixth season in January, will now turn to Tumminia to pursue the broadcast rights deals and partnerships with major brands that have largely eluded women’s hockey. The C.W.H.L. folded in 2019 because of economic troubles. The Canadian league operated as a centrally funded, nonprofit enterprise. Last season, the N.W.H.L.’s highest announced salary was $15,000.

Tumminia first got involved with the N.W.H.L. this year as the chairwoman of the Toronto team, a position she will leave because of her new post. Previously, Tumminia helped run several minor league baseball teams with a focus on sponsorship and marketing.

“This is a time of opportunity and transformation for the N.W.H.L., and the changes we are making across the league will fortify a foundation for continued success well into the future,” Tumminia said in a statement.

Tumminia’s ascent arrives at a time when women’s hockey is at a standstill because of the coronavirus pandemic. A majority of N.C.A.A. Division I women’s college hockey conferences have indefinitely delayed their 2020-21 seasons, while some Division III conferences have canceled theirs. Several international tournaments have been canceled, and the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association, a barnstorming group that includes players like Knight and other top Olympians, is operating with a limited schedule.

Members of the P.W.H.P.A. have been resolute in creating their own path towards a professional league that can give gamers livable salaries, which the N.W.H.L. does no longer but supply.

Changing Rylan Kearney with Tumminia will more than likely no longer trade the stance of the P.W.H.P.A., however her advertising and marketing revel in may open up avenues to untapped sponsors or doable group homeowners.

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